Networking for Introverts
If you’re an introvert, you probably get nervous every time you walk into a room full of strangers. Add the pressure of networking with potential business contacts and it won’t be long before you’re suffering from sweaty palms, a dry mouth and a churning stomach. Networking for introverts can be terrifying!
But it doesn’t have to be like this. By planning ahead and working with your personality, you can transform your next networking event into a positive experience. Here’s how.
Well before the date of your event, check out the attendee list and take a look at as many Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds as you can. Next, pick a few people you like the sound of and make an effort to engage with them via the social media.
You might find that there’s also a Twitter hashtag for your event, so use this to your advantage. Making connections beforehand will give you a head start when it comes to conversation and you’ll be able to find attendees more easily once you’ve seen their profile pictures.
Know your value
At some point during your event, you’ll get an opportunity to talk about yourself. To make the most of this, it’s best to come up with a succinct summary of your abilities and accomplishments. Aimed at sparking interest and making you memorable, this should be no more than 60 seconds long.
To come up with your summary, start by making notes about your work experience, your skills, your career objectives and your best achievements. Create a couple of informal paragraphs that include all the important details and add a sentence or two about the problems your product or service could solve. Reading your summary out loud will help you remember its contents under pressure, so allow time for plenty of practice!
Arm yourself with questions
While deep and meaningful questions aren’t really appropriate when it comes to networking, you should always plan a handful of light conversation starters. Stuck for ideas? Why not ask people how their journey was, what they think of the venue or why they’re interested in the event? It’s also worth considering your own responses to similar questions.
Turn up to your event at the last minute and you’ll find that groups have already formed, so we recommend getting to the venue early. This way, you’ll be able to join a table of just one or two and form a small group of your own.
Alternatively, sitting at the bar while you order a drink can be a good way to meet other attendees. When you get the chance, simply introduce yourself with a smile and a warm handshake.
If you’re an introvert, you’re probably a good listener too. Thankfully, most people love talking about themselves, enabling you to identify whether you can solve any of the work related issues they’re facing.
Think you can help the person you’re listening to? Mention the service or product you offer, ask if you can exchange business cards and follow up by sending them a polite reminder email a day or two after the event.
Networking as an introvert is all about playing to your strengths. Follow our top tips and there’s every chance that you’ll come away from your next event with a handful of high quality connections. And you might even enjoy yourself.